House Softball League: Children of the Corn 6, Ohio Killer Nuts 12

Tourists traipsing around the far east side of the National Mall on Monday night could be forgiven for thinking they’d caught a glimpse of Adam Dunn taking out the Nationals’ collective frustration on a batch of helpless softballs.

But no, that wasn’t Big Country blasting those tape-measure moon-shots; it was the Ohio Killer Nuts’ Derrick Walter.

A smidge less formidably built than Dunn, Walter nonetheless seems to have adopted the Washington slugger’s approach at the plate: If it ain’t a home run, it ain’t worth hitting.

Hey, that’s not a criticism — Walter’s solo shot to lead off the bottom of the second jump-started what had looked to be an anemic Nuts offense, and his three-run bomb in the sixth (likewise a smash pulled directly down the right-field line) sealed the deal, staking the bipartisan Ohio delegation team to a 12-6 victory over the Children of the Corn.

Lots of credit to the Iowans for a spirited effort, though. After retiring the Nuts in order in the first, the Corn would twice limit the damage to just a run. And even those frames in which the Nuts put up a crooked number could’ve been much, much worse were it not for some highlight-reel Corn defense, first baseman Todd Wilf’s sliding grab in foul territory to put out the fire in the second being a shining example.

Problem was, the Corn offense simply wasn’t clicking tonight. Just three Iowans were able to collect multiple hits, and the side was blanked in three separate innings — never a good sign for a softball team, even in the relatively low-scoring House League.

It sure wasn’t for lack of trying. The number of balls Corn batsmen hit on the nose but right at an Ohioan defender was enough to make the more conspiracy-minded among those in attendance wonder if the Killer Nuts hadn’t studied some film before setting their defenses. At-’em balls aside, however, the Nuts also turned in several of their own web gems, with shortstop Aaron Bill flagging a bloop behind second base ice cream cone-style and über-athletic backstop Bethany (that’s it — just the one name, Bethany, like Cher) springing from her crouch to make a pair of circus catches.

Sadly, with the loss, the Children of the Corn remain winless on the season, falling to 0-7. One team’s pain being another’s pleasure, though, the Ohio Killer Nuts pick up their first W of the year, improving to 1-5.

NOTES AND MINUTIAE: Scary moment in the bottom of the second in this one. With two on, one out and the Killer Nuts' Aaron Bill at the dish, a trio of emergency vehicles comes roaring up Third Street, lights ablaze and sirens wailing. The ball having already been pitched, Bill whacks a single up the middle to right-center. Outfielder Corey Goerdt collects the ball deep to his backhand and, seeing runner Joey Yost make the turn around third, fires what would have seemed a just-about-impossible throw home, an absolute on-the-fly laser and perfect strike — but one that drills catcher Angela Ruslander, who’d been distracted by the zooming cop cars and ambulance and (quite naturally) not anticipating such a ridiculously strong and on-the-money throw, directly in the forehead.

Ruslander remains on the ground for several seconds while a crowd gathers. Fortunately, in short order she’s in good spirits, joking around with her fellow Corn-ers and holding a bag of ice to the rapidly expanding knot on her noggin. Ruslander's teammates, taking note of her astonishing good humor and mind-boggling jocularity, wonder aloud if they should proceed with calling an ambulance after all — then decide that, astonishing good humor and mind-boggling jocularity being signs not only of a resilient, tough-as-nails catcher but also of a possible concussion, the ambulance is still probably a good idea.

Ever the gentleman, Goerdt accompanies Ruslander off the field and into the ambulance, and the Corn soldier on minus two key players but with fears more or less allayed. (As of press time, word is that Ruslander is doing OK.)